What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We get a lot of feedback. I think we're working in industries where generally, the interfaces that folks deal with were not designed in 2017. Everything looks like Windows 98 or Windows 95, and giving them something that's new and fresh and works on a phone, a tablet or a laptop surprises them often.
They love the design, and they love the interactivity and the way that it works the way that you think it should. A lot of the tools that they have to interact with on a daily basis, just don't. We get a lot of really positive feedback on the look and feel of the design and the flexibility of the tool. We're currently live in California, and New Jersey, and New York, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, and Arizona. When we look at an expansion, we're looking at the state level.
The way they developed the tool allows us to do things that are hyper-focused as well. We're going to be able to pitch it to big organizations like Starbucks, for example, that have employees who, in a lot of cases, are eligible for federal, and state, and local programs but also are available for corporate programs like smoking cessation, legal aid, or finding housing. Whatever benefits that they offer, we can get hyper-local, as well, thanks to the way that they built it. The flexibility that we have with the tool allows us to expand or contract in different markets very well. The design is fresh and people love it. And the technical back end allows us to do those niche markets too.
How did Ascender perform from a project management standpoint?
We used Taiga or Basecamp. They were good at project management. if we're moving toward criticisms, we focused way too much on design too early. We should've had flexible, unpainted prototypes far earlier than we did. And so in terms of the project management stuff, the needs assessment and the wireframing was too long. We should've just gone into the minimally viable products much earlier than we did.
What did you find most impressive about Ascender Studios?
Are there any areas Ascender Studios could improve?
The way that I ended up having to work with to push code to stage and redeploy every time I made a single change because I couldn't get a system setup myself. I think with a little, tiny bit of their assistance, I would have been able to do that. Because when I finally got the codebase towards the end of the project, I was able to do that and be up and running within a couple days on my own.
The guidance part really didn't come through and that was a little bit of a disappointment. On a promise, I would say 75% was delivered and in a lot of these projects that's all you can expect.
I think the development timeline was getting a little tight at the end because we spent too much time on the design early on. I really wanted to be in the space one or two days a week actually working on the project and that didn't materialize until the project was almost over. We could have gotten so much more done, and realized little technical errors that cropped up after we were essentially finished long before we got to that point. So those two things, I think, sort of came out in the conversation.